Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sacrifice

It's been nearly 3 months since I last blogged. Needless to say, my world hasn't stopped moving -- it's still spinning out of control.

Changes and challenges, irritations and frustrations.

Most recently, what's been hard for me is the change to that which I cling to -- my freedom.

For the last 9 years, I've not lived with my family. I've lived abroad, in dorms, with friends, with significant others... as I've mentioned on multiple occasions, as much as I love my family, being in close-proximity with them is unhealthy for me. The freedom and mobility that I didn't have when I was younger is something I value above many things now -- and I was asked at the end of December to give much of that up.

My grandmother on my dad's side, on Christmas Eve, fell. She, until then, with the exception of taking a reaaaaally long time to walk anywhere due to Arthritis-ravaged knees, was still rather sprite and active. She drove. Went to weekly water exercise classes. Cooked. Whatever.

The fall was the beginning of a significant downturn in her mobility and she is now bed-ridden. As such, she needs 24-hour care -- she needs diapers and bed-baths. She needs to care-taking. And unfortunately, our family cannot afford to have outside help significant enough to not truly disrupt our schedules... so my dad asked me to move in and help.

Give up my apartment. Give up going out. Give up freedom. In exchange for a curfew, zero privacy, and no sleep.

I didn't jump at the opportunity. I said yes because I have a sense of familial obligation... and because I knew I didn't have much choice in the matter since we're financially unable to hire the help for the number of hours I am expected to cover.

So, I moved out of my apartment of 4 years and into my grandmother's house in Manoa. And I try to be home by 10 pm, daily, so that I can take care of her evening needs. And I wake up several times throughout the night to check on her. And the only other person who is making any kind of significant sacrifice is my dad -- who, at this point, has it worse off than I do in terms of lack of freedom.

And you know what? It sucks and it isn't fair for any of us involved (dad, grandma, or me).

Grandma deserves the best care possible -- not whatever it is her tired son and selfish granddaughter can provide. Daddy deserves to SLEEP -- he works overnight and has to be awake throughout the day to give her lunch/dinner and meet with the care-people who visit. And honestly, I think I deserve to play.

I've always tried never to be jealous of my friends, but as of late, I find that I get more and more upset when I look at their lives compared to mine. Many of them have honestly had it easy (at least through my eyes) -- they are well-off or have rarely had to struggle financially for anything as their families can provide for them. Heck some of them don't work. And many haven't really had to sacrifice... ever.

And while my life isn't horrible at all -- especially when I think of all the people in the world who know nothing of the luxuries that I have -- I still get jealous that it seems like I've worked so much harder than so many people and yet, I keep struggling and keep having to sacrifice.

My dad understands that I need any possible shred of freedom I can get my claws on and he pays for someone to come in a few times a month so that I can go out with friends and forget for a bit. I wish I could give him that same courtesy.

But frankly, I'm tired and frustrated with it all.
And it's only been a month and a half.
And I keep asking myself...

How much longer do we have to do this?

My grandma is healthy, short of the lack of mobility. No eating restrictions. No mental health issues. Nothing. She'll be 90 later this year and she could live another 10 years!

But I can't last 10 years doing this.
I don't know if I could even last one.

But... with no other obvious outs...

/me.